• Home

    Coral sideboard makeover

    Hello everyone! Not many posts lately as I’ve been busy working on the new house. I thought you wouldn’t mind if I shared a few projects on the blog.

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    I had been admiring mango wood carved sideboards and I really wanted something in a bright colour to make a statement, but couldn’t find the money to treat myself to one (see a few faves 1, 2, 3).

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    So instead I made my own version for under £140! Plus I have glue, paint and primer to spare. I’ve placed it in our recently painted dining room and temporarily decorated it with pretty blooms and a couple of complimentary pictures. Keep reading to learn how my sideboard came together!

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    Since I wasn’t flush with cash, my solution was to scour Facebook Marketplace for something suitable, where I found an IKEA Hemnes sideboard that had been half-heartedly upcycled from white to black, yellow and teal. It was £50 instead of £229… an excellent start!

    For the colour I chose the shade Coral Flair by Dulux but had it mixed as Valspar V700 satin wood at B&Q. It’s that perfect bold orangey pink that feels quite elegant. I only needed 500ml but had to buy 1L for £25.

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    Now the fun part, working out the carved effect! I ordered a 3mm sheet of decorative mdf normally used for radiator covers. It was 1200mm x 620mm and cost £38.90. From that one piece I could cut two panels for the front of my cupboard.

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    Using a piece of greaseproof paper I made a template for the inner rectangle for each door then folded in half in find the centre length. Mapping out the best pattern placement took a couple of goes but the fold line ensured the design was centralised in the door.

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    When ready, I drew round my templates and cut everything out with a jigsaw. This wasn’t the best tool for the job but it was all I had. The nature of the design meant I needed a couple of floating triangles. I cleaned up any wonky cuts with a small hacksaw to get the fit just right.

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    I sanded back the unit using a small mouse sander, then primed the unit with wood primer (£11). Then everything had two coats of coral paint. I did the same number of coats on the mdf. It was a pain in the butt getting into all the grooves of the mdf so I’m pleased I didn’t buy a more intricate design.

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    The mdf was stuck in place with Everbuild Instant Nails (£4.75), but it created lots of gluey bits like those you see in this close up photo. In hindsight I maybe should have mounted the mdf before all the painting as the glue was annoyingly messy. I touched up the paint with a little brush to cover the blobs all up.

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    To finish off I added 5 gold handles (£6.99 for 6pcs). I know I could have gone for a more flashy style but I wanted the carving to be the star. And I lined the drawers with more of the gold and white contact paper from my drinks cabinet upcycle. The perfect coral sideboard… and it’s one of a kind too! Happy days.

  • Loungewear

    Christmas pyjamas and Festive Wishes

    Hello all! Tonight I’m typing from bed. It’s been an exhausting few days. Today was supposed to be completion and moving day for our new home but on Friday afternoon the plug was pulled because our buyer was suspected of money laundering. You can’t make these things up. Fast forward to today when it turned out to be a big misunderstanding but all the cancelled plans couldn’t be reinstated.

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    So instead I put on my new homemade Christmas pjs and jumped around on the bed! I usually wear a pair of Cath Kidston festive pyjamas this time of year but they’ve been worn to death. So let me introduce my “adventure Santa” set! (It looks like I’m about to hit the ceiling but I had good clearance haha.)

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    Made up of my classic duo, the Closet Core Carolyn top pattern and McCall’s 6659 (now M8056) bottoms pattern which I’ve made multiple times. There’s not much I can say other than I SQUEEZED these out of 2m. My foolproof method when I need to do this is piece the front facings together. As long as any seams avoid buttonholes they are unnoticeable.

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    My fabric is this charming vintage style Santa print from The Fabric Guys. It’s a brushed cotton that isn’t super soft but is well printed and warm to wear. Santa shows off how he skies, sledges, builds snowmen and let’s Rudolph in on the fun too. And as a reminder, I wear top size 6 in the shoulders graded up to 10 from the bust to the waist and then up to a 16 at the hip. Bottoms are size 14.

    Sometimes you achieve pattern matching perfection like the pair of flannel Hanukkah pjs I made for a friend using the exact same sewing patterns and other fabric from the same website. My friend has similar proportions to me but is taller with a smaller bottom so only minor adjustments were needed. And she LOVED the pyjamas hahah!!

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in Hanukkah dogs brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    With only 2m of santa fabric I couldn’t achieve anything like this matching but I don’t mind as sometimes making the project you want it more important. The dog pjs took 4m of fabric in comparison, as you generally need 1.5m more for pattern matching and I couldn’t buy in half metres online. So I saved £13.98 on my Santa set by skipping this.

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    Now I’m ready for Christmas and for a new moving date. I’m hoping we can at least exchange so everything is legally binding and give my family some peace of mind for the holidays. Things are already stressful enough here with changing covid rules, loved ones being furloughed and it seems the best present I can give is avoiding people. And let’s not mention Brexit! I hope you find a way to celebrate the festive season and recharge your batteries. That’s my plan. Time for more jumping on the bed!

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

  • Jackets and coats

    Little red Closet Core Kelly Anorak

    Today involved a giant breakfast, a bit of hammering, and a nice walk. I’m showing off my finished Kelly Anorak which I completed right before we headed out the door. Yes, I might look like little red riding hood but I stayed dry and warm thanks to my new jacket.

    This jacket has been a long time coming. I started it for the fabulous Anorak August Sew-along the brainchild of Sheffield Sewcial but after losing my sew-jo (thanks Covid) I struggled to feel motivated to finish until now. I was looking for a lightweight jacket to layer over jumpers for casual walks or errands when I didn’t want to wear my wool coats or Barbour jacket. I also needed a hood as NONE of my outerwear has one! The Closet Core Kelly seemed like a good choice.

    Somehow I made a toile straight away in some horrendous 90s Laura Ashley-esque waxed cotton from my stash. Some people thought this was my actual fabric! Fit-wise I started with size 8 around the upper body and 10 around the bottom. After a try on I had to remove 2″ from the length, add 2cm to the centre back and hood and add 1cm to each side seams around the hips. Maybe the hood is a little roomy now but it’s fine. Annoyingly I’ve put on a fair bit of weight since I started making this so the fit in the body isn’t ideal but I’m sure it will be better again soon.

    My pattern came from the fabulous Bobbins and Bolts in Harrogate. I met owner Gemma at The Dressmakers Ball and was so pleased to learn about her bricks and mortar shop. I really hope it survives the Covid absence of shoppers. I bought this and the Kew dress pattern which should get made next Summer.

    I know there’s been a lot of chatter about the pattern recently, especially the lining extension with people not thinking the instructions and construction of the hood works. Closet Core (formerly Closet Case) recently reissued the lining pattern. I didn’t use it so I can’t really comment on whether it’s fixed or not I’m afraid.

    My waterproof fabric was a fantastic bargain from Fabworks online. You know I love a trip to their Mill as the team are a real hoot! Can’t wait to go back again soon. This is called Dark Rust showerproof nylon and cotton, and it was £18 for 3m. My coordinating zip was from eBay. The BIGGEST thing I hate about my Barbour jacket is the double ended zipper which takes me about 5 goes every time so I’m super pleased with how this one came together.

    After reading the post on Closet Core about underlining the jacket in fleece (instead of lining) I thought that would suit me best and chose a navy and white spotty flannel from eBay. The red top-stitching and my red satin bias inside looks nice together and the husband said it reminds him of Joules which I think is quite a nice “boy compliment”.

    Now for some real talk. I kind of hated every step of making this jacket. I counted, and I’ve made 7 wool coats/jackets, 2 Chanel style jackets and 1 mac and this is the worst piece of outerwear of the lot.

    The construction is straightforward if you’ve made coats before but the fabric was so thick in places topstitching was a challenge to keep even and flat felling the seams was more fiddly than normal. Plus the spray glue I used to secure my flannel to the outer was utterly useless so everything kept shifting.

    I think the lack of sew-jo didn’t help as I dreaded doing anything on it. I stabbed every finger, had to resew most seams, and the cherry on top was when I made two left pockets for the front.

    The snaps aren’t right for this jacket either! This fabric is too light for them and I should have chosen plastic snaps instead of metal ones. Therefore I didnt bother putting them down the front when I knew they’d be loose and either sag or entirely fall off. I might go back and add one to the hem though to keep the flap shut when it’s windy. It’s done, not perfect… and that’s fine by me.

    We took the jacket out for a walk in Silsden today as I really wanted to see one of the Stanza Stones. It’s a series of six poems by Simon Armitage carved into stone and placed at atmospheric or dramatic areas of natural beauty. Today we saw the Dew Stones. You can do the full trail to see them all in one go but we’re going to visit individually to stretch them out. Armitage’s work has always been a favourite of mine as his poems are unfussy and honest. Plus he’s from Yorkshire, so he’s a winner.

  • Other stuff

    Homemade lampshades

    Hello everyone! Sorry it’s been a while since I posted. I know this blog is documenting my projects and there haven’t been many lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t missed it. I’ve been slowly getting back to normal and I’m excited to share a new make with you all.

    This blog post is brought to you in partnership with Need Craft and Dannells! One of things I thought I’d try for the new house is a spot of lampshade making. Given my love of gin, bottle lamps seemed like the perfect choice. They sent me two 25cm Empire Shade kits to test in exchange for a review. The plan is to use them as bedside table lamps in a Palm Springs inspired bedroom. 

    I’m using Rock Rose bottles, one of which is a special edition from my Craft Gin Club subscription. They have a beautiful coral pattern on the pottery bottles. And I picked up my lamp fixtures from eBay. Dannells sell bottle lamp conversion kits but I had a hankering to have one with a mid-wire switch rather than a bulb level switch.

    The kit includes everything you need apart from fabric. So I chose a Moda cotton called summer sweet sprinkle geranium from Empress Mills. This colourway is now sold out but there are some other cute shades. You can use pretty much any medium weight fabric which means you can match your curtains, use up old scraps or indulge in that luscious velvet you’ve been eyeing up.

    Everything comes together incredibly quickly. You adhere the PVC backing to your fabric, then add double sided tape to your hoops before rolling your shade together and tucking away the ends neatly. There’s even a handy tool included to press the ends into place.

    There’s a super helpful photo guide included with your kit. PLUS a handy video made by an old friend. And last but not least, this handy tip helped me get a super polished finish on the outside. To give a bit more height used 4″ shade carriers which prop your shade up higher, perfect to see more of my gin bottles! 

    They turned out so good. Jimi only gave them 9/10 but that’s because he said I didn’t choose fabric covered in my face. That would definitely be interesting… but I think these will go perfectly in the new room. Now I just need to move house! Once I’m in, I think I’ll make a few more shades. I’ve got a hankering to covering the inside as well as the outside. There’s always room for improvement right?

  • Dresses

    Not another New Look 6587

    I know, I know, I could possibly be stuck in a dress rut… but I don’t care. New Look 6587 is fast becoming one of those dresses that never turns out badly and I can always imagine another one!

    almond rock new look 6587 nl6587 fruit pineapples lemons vintage dressmaking sewing pattern

    As you know I haven’t really been sewing lately but I did want a birthday dress. And what could be better than ANOTHER LEMON DRESS?!? So for year 36 I made another version of my classic 90s pattern New Look 6587.

    almond rock new look 6587 nl6587 fruit pineapples lemons vintage dressmaking sewing pattern

    It’s the perfect dress because it isn’t tight but has enough shape and structure so I don’t feel like I’m wearing a sack. I can eat plenty without feeling uncomfortable and it fits me regardless of my fluctuating weight.

    almond rock new look 6587 nl6587 fruit pineapples lemons vintage dressmaking sewing pattern

    It was a rather fun birthday weekend with an Italian 60s themed murder mystery and illusion spaghetti and meatballs chocolate cake on Friday, and then on Saturday a picnic in my favourite park in Ilkley! I managed to wear the dress on the morning of my birthday but by the time the picnic came around it was a bit too cold so I had to change out of it. But I wore it for a brief moment so it counts as a birthday dress!

    almond rock fabric shopping paris husband

    This delightful fabric was picked up during my visit to Paris earlier this year. There are pineapples, lemons and strawberries on it as well as botanical leaves. It’s a half artistic and half cheesy but I LOVE IT! It’s a medium weight stretch cotton. Almost denim weight! But that makes it so well structured and perfect for this dress. Perhaps a little warm for the heatwave and a little cold for the weird snap in the weather! But who cares it’s cute and I wore it for a nice walk through the local fields to see how the foals were getting on.

    I used navy bias around the neckline as a facing and added more of the plastic buttons from the navy lemons dress… I  still have about 80 of them left. Those patch pockets are the greatest too. Perfect phone and key size for going on walks!

    almond rock new look 6587 nl6587 fruit pineapples lemons vintage dressmaking sewing pattern